A while ago I was about to talk about this album, which is to talk about the band (Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, considered by many people to be the greatest in the extensive history of Argentine rock), which is to talk about Indio Solari, lyricist, singer, face of the group, and one of the most special artistic expressions of the continent and the language. I didn't do it before because I wanted to finish reading his memoirs, published last year by Sudamericana, in interview format and with the title Memories that lie a little. In short, to realize that I am not going to say anything different now from what I would have said before reading them.
One is attracted to gossip, of course; and it's OK. It's always nice to peek out to see which Beatles album Borges preferred, or what Lezama said to any of the groupies who visited him in the living room of his house in Trocadero, but strictly speaking, the only place where one will have to look for what an author has to say about himself, and about anything, is in his work. The work, if it is good and true, is the only space where the author can be surprised without a mask. He will always be discovered, even if he hides in the plot or in the characters. The author-person, who is the one who gives interviews, will have the costume at hand, and will use it at his discretion. The author-author No. The author-author You can tell the therapist any lie you want, who will always fall apart when you tell him the dream, unless he is a bad author, of which there are many.
Indio's lyrics are known for their enigmatic, encrypted, symbolic tone. He himself has referred to his style as “ambiguous”. But don't be dizzy. Don't be fooled by him Indian-personwho knows so much about Indian-author like any of us. Ambiguity is more an attribute of political speeches than of artistic ones. For me, at least, the idea of the ambiguous draws me more towards the indefinite. True art is always defined, and Patricio Rey's is true popular art. The fact that the same line reaches different resonances depending on the sensitivity where it is placed does not mean that it is ambiguous. If Indio's lyrics were ambiguous, they wouldn't put 300,000 people in a city of 100,000 (as happened in Olavarría a few years ago), nor would they fill River's court. At Los Redonditos concerts everyone knew what they were talking about. If you put imagination into Solari's lyrics, and a bit of context, if you clean the glass of the spirit well before seeing, you will realize that they are clearer than an informative note.
In music for pills, third track of October (Del Cielito, 1986), it is said, in one of the most exciting moments of the album: "Pretty rockers, educated / with great expenses, educated / Shoot the free throw / that the good ones are back / and they are shooting horror movies". There is no ambiguity there, you forgive me. We are in 1986, in Argentina, three years after democracy returned, in the midst of the uncovering process—that cultural revelry that comes after any dictatorship. El Indio is in that stanza, with his acidity, the classic pessimistic spoiler, reminding the happy drunkards that in the end the bill will have to be paid. But let's not close the window of meanings. Let's shake the almanac and the world map. In Buenos Aires, in Havana and in Singapore, there will always be someone to put the suit of pretty rocker, polite, and there will always be those who claim to be good, and actually they shoot horror movies. That is not being ambiguous. That is being a poet.
The pop melody, its choreability, is one of the keys to Patricio Rey's success. Sometimes, as in music for pills, the guitar, the sax and the voice, in that order, make different lines, each one more catchy than the other. You can hum any of the three, that the one next to you will recognize what song it is at the moment. Almost every theme has at least one of these coreable segments, which work as an identity card. From here it is understood that they are not complex melodies, otherwise the public would not sing them as if they were Liverpool fans.
Ricotero shows (masses, they were called) were a unique cultural incident, at least in Latin America. I lack information, but I have never seen a musical proposal with that type of lyrical charge reach the levels of massiveness of Los Redondos, and, moreover, independently (because they did not sign for any label in more than two decades). Neither Almendra, nor the best Charly, nor Silvio when he filled stadiums. Nobody, from the poetry, from the lyric that plays more for the sensory team, has ever moved so many people. One of the peak moments of the recitals came with hehehe, the seventh track on the album. The madness was unleashed in the chorus, which, yes, is lively, but it is not that of Smells Like Teen Spirit for such an imbalance to arise. And, furthermore, it's not like he says: “Up, jump and sweat!”. What the chorus says hehehe is: “I didn't dream it / You were running adrift / I didn't dream it / Blind eyes wide open / Don't look, please / and don't turn on the light / The image disfigured you”. A hundred thousand people gone crazy. That can only happen in the Argentine Republic.
October It was my first Los Redondos album. I looked for the discography after a young man from Buenos Aires showed me his tattoo with fundamentalist devotion, in which the group's logo was visible (the one with the letters P and R, and the crown). I was skeptical, me, for two reasons. Firstly because, believing myself at that time to be the wisest of Argentine rock in Cuba, I had never come across the band. Second, because he was old enough to distrust fundamentalist devotions. Therefore, instead of going into the phonographic collection at the beginning —which is what I almost always do—, I went directly to what was considered the best work. If I didn't like it, bye Redondos. In those terms I started to turn the plate.
The taxi was one of those converted Willys that pack people in the back, but I was in the passenger seat. prime. I was able to look at no specific point out the window and attend only to what was happening in my ears. the first cut, fires of october, passed without more noise than the explosions at the beginning. What happened next, which is why I'm talking about this now, started, as usual, with a riff of Skay Beilinson, master of the right hand, and with the Indio saying: “Once I made love / to a Dracula in heels”. I have never listened to this album with the same shocked face again.